Disgraced South Carolina legal heir, Alex Murdaugh, lured his wife to their family home before she and their son were executed last summer.
Murdaugh, 54, told his wife that his 81-year-old father was on his death bed and she needed to see him before he passed.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52, declined her husband’s request before reluctantly agreeing to meet him at their 1,770-acre estate in the small town of Islandton.
While en route to the home, Maggie sent a text to a friend alleging Murdaugh’s behavior was ‘fishy’ and that he was ‘up to something,’ a law enforcement source told People Magazine on Friday.
Maggie and her son, Paul, were gunned down on June 7, 2021 just moments after she arrived at the estate.
Murdaugh was officially charged with their murders on Thursday. The one-time legal scion was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The indictment alleges he shot Maggie with a rifle, and Paul, 22, with a shotgun at the estate.
Disgraced South Carolina legal heir Alex Murdaugh (left) lured his wife, Maggie Murdaugh (right), to their family home before she and their son, Paul, were executed last summer
Murdaugh and Maggie had hit a rough patch in their marriage and were living in separate homes at the time of her murder.
She had been staying at the family’s beach home in Edisto Island, approximately an hour away form the estate, when Murdaugh told her the health of his father, Randolph Murdaugh III, had declined.
Police sources claim Murdaugh requested Maggie meet him at the estate so they could say their goodbyes Randolph.
She initially rejected going to the property, suggesting she meet them at the hospital where Randolph was receiving treatment instead.
Maggie was somehow convinced to meet at the property, where she then planned to follow Murdaugh to the hospital in her own vehicle. But she was murdered before she had the chance to visit Randolph.
Police sources claim Murdaugh (center) told Maggie his father’s health had declined and she needed to see him before he died. Maggie (right) thought his behavior was ‘fishy’ and that he was ‘up to something.’ Alex and Maggie are pictured with their son, Paul (left)
Murdaugh asked Maggie to meet them at their family’s 1,770-acre estate in the small town of Islandton (pictured) on June 7, 2021. The pair were then expected to travel to the hospital, where his father was receiving treatment
Maggie and Paul were murdered outside the dog kennels on the property (pictured) before she had a chance to go the hospital. Paul was shot twice with a shotgun and Maggie had been shot multiple times with an assault rifle
Thirteen months ago, Murdaugh told police he ‘found’ the bodies of his youngest son and wife by the dog kennels on the family’s hunting estate around 10 p.m.
In audio of the 911 call he placed at 10:07 p.m. that night, he can be heard telling the dispatcher in a high-pitched screech: ‘I need the police and an ambulance immediately. My wife and child were just shot badly.’
People reported that Maggie was shot shortly after she arrived at the property, alleging she left her car running as she walked over to the kennels where Paul had been standing. He had been taking pictures of a friend’s dog he had been watching.
Paul was shot twice with a shotgun – once in the head and once in the chest. Maggie had been shot multiple times with an assault rifle. Their gunshot wounds were believed to be consistent with ‘execution-style’ killings, reports said.
According to several sources, Paul’s body was found partially inside one of the kennels, while his mother’s was several feet away, leading investigators to believe she ran from her killer before being gunned down.
At least two of her gunshot wounds were believed to have been inflicted while she was on the ground.
Once a prominent legal scion, Alex Murdaugh resigned from the family’s Hampton-based law firm in September. The firm later claimed Murdaugh embezzled company funds and at least one of Murdaugh’s former colleagues is among the many bringing suits against him. Alex is pictured with his wife, Maggie, and two sons, Paul and Buster
In the immediate aftermath of the horrific discoveries, Murdaugh’s family and attorneys were robust in their defense of the man and his marriage.
According to lawyer Dick Harpootlian, Murdaugh had a ‘ironclad alibi’ and his marriage with Maggie was ‘full of love.’ But in the intervening months, a very different picture has emerged, casting doubt on both claims.
It remains unconfirmed what his possible motive for killing his wife and son was, but at the time of their deaths, Murdaugh – a lawyer – was drowning in debt thanks to a crippling addiction to opioids.
Murdaugh was charged Thursday with two counts of murder for the deaths of Maggie and Paul. The charges came a day after he had finally been disbarred by South Carolina’s Supreme Court
His furious wife had been consulting divorce lawyers after being left red-faced at charity luncheons, where her donation checks bounced.
Paul had also landed the family in legal trouble. In 2019, he was driving a boat when it crashed, throwing 19-year-old Mallory Beach overboard. She died in the accident and it was later found that Paul was drunk.
In the months after Maggie and Paul’s murders, Murdaugh was pushed out from his legal firm amid claims he had embezzled millions of dollars over multiple years.
Murdaugh was charged Thursday with two counts of murder for the deaths of Maggie and Paul. The charges came a day after he had finally been disbarred by South Carolina’s Supreme Court.
‘Today is one more step in a long process for justice for Maggie and Paul,’ Mark Keel, the chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
Murdaugh, who has been jailed since October, has already been indicted for insurance fraud, theft, lying to the police and multiple other offenses.
He is accused of paying a man to shoot him in September of last year so his surviving son, Buster, could collect on a $10 million insurance policy.
Curtis Smith, the hit man allegedly hired by Murdaugh, botched the job, firing a bullet that only grazed him.
Murdaugh, who has been jailed since October, has already been indicted for insurance fraud, theft, lying to the police and multiple other offenses. He is pictured at his bond hearing in September 2021
Murdaugh’s staged murder attempt came a day after he was forced out of his law firm for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars.
Murdaugh has also been accused of pocketing a $4 million settlement that was intended for relatives of the family housekeeper, who died in a 2018 fall at the Murdaugh home.
He has pleaded not guilty to all previous charges and is currently jailed on a $7 million bond. It is unclear if additional bond will be added in wake of the murder charges.
The Murdaugh family has deep roots in law enforcement in South Carolina. Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as district prosecutors.
TIMELINE OF MURDAUGH FAMILY MURDERS, SCANDALS AND CRIMES
JUNE 7, 2021: Maggie and Paul Murdaugh are found shot dead at the family home. Alex claims he found them dead outside dog kennel and calls 911
JUNE 17: Alex Murdaugh’s brothers go on Good Morning America to protest his innocence.
Family later offers $100k reward for information
SEPTEMBER 3: Alex Murdaugh quietly resigns from his law firm
SEPTEMBER 4: Murdaugh calls 911 claiming he has been shot in the head
SEPTEMBER 6: Murdaugh publicly announces resignation and checks into rehab.
The law firm then announces that he has stolen millions over the years he spent working there
SEPTEMBER 14: Curtis Smith is charged with helping Murdaugh in a staged murder plot. He tells cops Murdaugh hired him to shoot him on September 4 as part of a plan for him to be killed and give his son Buster a $10million life insurance payout
SEPTEMBER 15: Cops open investigation in 2018 death of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield
SEPTEMBER 16: Murdaugh surrenders to police
OCTOBER 14: Murdaugh is charged with stealing life insurance money from housekeeper Gloria Satterfield’s kids
JULY 14, 2022: Murdaugh charged with the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul